logo
Another press conference today, with another big announcement:

Jeff Vinik and his wife Penny are committing to donating over $10 million dollars over the next five years to the Lightning Foundation.

I wish I could write stories like these every day. This really is just a great story. And although there are some payoffs to the club by announcing such a large donation, even with that in mind, you don't just donate $10 million dollars every day.

From the Lightning website:

"When we purchased the Lightning, Penny and I made a long term commitment to the Tampa Bay community," Vinik said. "We intend to make this region our home, and, our ownership of the Lightning enables us to have the visibility to become active philanthropic leaders in the community. Today's announcement begins this process, and we look forward to working with the Lightning Foundation in the coming year to touch lives and inspire others."

More than $2 million will be granted by the Lightning Foundation each season, utilizing two different programs established by the organization. The first program, titled “Lightning Community Partners: Giving Back Through the Power of Partnerships,” will present four $200,000 grants to major charities in the Tampa Bay area for each of the next five years beginning with the 2011-12 hockey season.

The second program, titled “Lightning Community Heroes: Honoring Tampa Bay’s Community Heroes,” will present 25 $50,000 awards to individuals and their representative 501 (c) 3 organizations for each of the next five years beginning with the 2011-12 hockey season.

These heroes will be selected by a subcommittee of the Lightning Foundation throughout the season after a nomination process allowing anyone in Tampa Bay the opportunity to recommend a hero in the community for his or her good works.

The new committee, including season ticket holders, and appointed by the Board of Directors of the Lightning Foundation, will select the winners. Each hero will receive a check at a designated Tampa Bay Lightning home game and be honored with a video presentation in the arena.

The organization is also pledging 4,000 hours of volunteerism from its full-time staff under the company’s “All In For Our Community” program each calendar year with a goal touching lives and inspiring others to give back to the community, even if people can not do so financially.

“We are blessed to be in a leadership position in Tampa Bay and through the power of giving and volunteerism, we hope to motivate others to join with us in building up our community,” said Tod Leiweke, Chief Executive Officer of the Lightning and the St. Pete Times Forum.